Our mission is to spark conversation, connection, and social change through community oral history and storytelling in the South Sound and beyond
Who we are & what we do
We are a local oral history and community storytelling nonprofit committed to gathering people together to build community and share stories that have been forgotten, silenced, or ignored throughout history.
Oral history and personal narrative are at the center of our work. We experiment with many formats. Since 2016, we have worked alongside service providers, activists, organizers, and artists to tell nuanced and inclusive stories — people’s histories — of who we are in this home-place. Through live storytelling, theatre, community conversations, artistic collaborations, podcasts, film screenings, exhibits, and more, we amplify local knowledge, share powerful stories and ideas, and ask what is possible.
We serve an intergenerational and diverse community of adults, youth, families, and seniors within and connected to the South Sound region of the Pacific Northwest, on Squaxin Island land, known colonially as Olympia, WA. Thurston County also includes land of the Coast Salish, Chehalis, Nisqually, and Puyallup People. The populations we serve are based within this region and beyond.
We believe the future is written with the stories we narrate, and we want to co-create a more inclusive, connected, and just world where we can share and document our own stories.
We envision a local community that honors, seeks out, and is shaped by the many histories, identities, and stories that reflect the people we are in this place.
Local community responsiveness
Our projects come about from the needs and assets of our community. We aim to be responsive, consistent, and trustworthy with our partners. Our projects are always co-created with community partners - 'nothing about someone without them.' We want to connect people with our home place, the land, and one another.
Ethical story stewardship
In our workshops and collaborations, we emphasize process over product and the ethical considerations of holding other peoples’ stories. We aspire to gather and share nuanced, layered stories with artistic and ethical integrity. We consider ourselves stewards of other peoples’ stories. We do not own the copyright to the stories we gather and we never share a story without the person's feedback and ongoing consent.
Collective memory activism
We feature stories of people with diverse perspectives and multicultural identities to help eliminate entrenched biases, stereotypes, and discrimination within our communities. We highlight the voices and contributions of those who have historically been left in the margins. We prioritize accessibility, diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural responsiveness in our projects and programming. Through storytelling, we aim to more deeply understand ourselves, embrace our shared humanity, celebrate our uniqueness, and collectively create the narrative of the world we want to live in.
We strive to incorporate antiracist practices into our organizational values and structure because we know white supremacy culture can easily manifest in organizations. Identifying and naming the culture we want to see helps make room for a truly multicultural organization. We value people over productivity, embracing discomfort as the root of all growth, and deepening our collective understanding of systemic racism and oppression and how our personal experiences and feelings fit into the larger context.
Window Seat Media is a Worker Self-Directed 501c3 Nonprofit with shared leadership. We are a nimble organization that thrives on synergy, abundance-thinking, and experimentation. We value relationships (human and place-based), multi-disciplinary collaboration, community voice, equity, transparency, and trust. Our work is informed by best practices from the American Folklore Society and the Oral History Association.
Storytelling is a vital part of human life, and there are many ways that community storytelling can nourish, heal, and strengthen our communal life. We understand that stories are told not only through words, but also through all our oral and cultural traditions, including the food we grow and prepare, the music we make and dances we perform, our handicrafts, and rituals.
Check out how our work has grown over time since our founding board in 2016.
We center community input. Please take our Community Feedback Survey to inform ongoing strategic planning for our work. We appreciate your feedback and insights